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Low-key BBPL hopes for revival in Chittagong

  • Published at 03:34 pm December 16th, 2019
Mahmudullah waves the red and green flag of Bangladesh on Victory Day in Chittagong Monday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

The port city will host a total of 12 games over six matchdays

The Chittagong phase of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 is set to kick-off Tuesday, with Khulna Tigers taking on Rajshahi Royals in the afternoon game at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

In the evening game on the same day, home team Chattogram Challengers will face Sylhet Thunder, who are yet to register a win after three games. 

The port city will host a total of 12 games over six matchdays.

However, the ongoing special edition of the BPL is yet to create much buzz among Chittagong residents. 

Tickets for the games on the first day have not been high demand, and the ticket booths at MA Aziz Stadium and Bitek More in Sagarika did not see large crowds.

Branding for the tournament has barely been visible in the port city, and even local team Chattogram have not taken much initiative. 

The only evidence that the tournament is in progress was the four teams holding practice sessions at ZACS Monday afternoon.

The lack of branding aside, one can hope that the action on the pitch in the Chittagong phase can lift a BBPL that has so far been disappointing. 

Khulna Tigers' Mushfiqur Rahim attempts a scoop shot during training Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

In the previous season of the tournament held at the start of the year, the batsmen enjoyed great outings at ZACS.

Of the seven top individual scores in an innings last season, five were registered in Chittagong. 

Four of them were centuries. 

The highest score had come from the West Indies hard hitter Evin Lewis, an unbeaten 109 off 49 deliveries for Comilla Victorians against Khulna Titans. 

The other three centuries had come from Rangpur Riders batsmen Rilee Rossouw, AB de Villiers and Alex Hales. 

Rossouw had remained unbeaten on 100 and Hales also scored a century in the same game against Chittagong Vikings, while De Villiers hit his ton against Dhaka Dynamites.

Some big totals set by the teams in the first Dhaka phase add further promise to the port city segment. 

The highest total in the first phase was 182 by Dhaka Platoon against Thunder.

 Rajshahi Royals' Andre Russell chances his arm Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Bangladeshi batsmen are dominating the scoring charts, and Chattogram top-order batsman Imrul Kayes is sharing the top spot with team mate and Windies batsman Chadwick Walton. 

Both have score 177 runs in the tournament so far.

Mohammad Mithun has totaled 112 runs for Sylhet, Tamim Iqbal 110 for Dhaka, Mosaddek Hossain 109 for Sylhet and Anamul Haque 100 for Dhaka in the following positions on the top-scorer’s list.

“The Bangladeshis are performing well. The wickets in Mirpur had offered a lot of runs to the batsmen. We never saw anything like that there. I am personally surprised that scores like 150, 170 are being chased. This is not usual,” Royals batsman Liton Das told the media Monday.

“I hope it will be the same in Chittagong. The wicket here historically serves the batsmen and makes the matches interesting. I hope there are some close matches [in Chittagong] for the supporters to enjoy,” the wicketkeeper-batsman added.

On the wicket-takers’ list, Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera is on top with five wickets. 

Three Bangladeshis are in the top five: Royals all-rounder Alok Kapali and Soumya Sarkar of Cumilla Warriors have bagged four wickets each while Royals pacer-allrounder Farhad Reza has notched three scalps in two matches.

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